SmartMedia Card (1995-2004)
Years of Primary Use: 1995-2004
Storage Capacity: 2 MB-128 MB
SmartMedia cards were developed by Toshiba in 1995, which originally called them the Solid State Floppy Disk Cards (SSFDC). They used NAND memory to store up to 128 MB. Even though SmartMedia cards primarily became storage for digital cameras and are no longer used today, they still represent an important step in storage evolution, as they were the first major NAND-based devices.
Secure Digital Card (1999-Present)
Years of Primary Use: 1999-Present
Storage Capacity: 1 MB-128 GB
Introduced by the SD Card Association in 1999, Secure Digital (SD) memory cards were specifically designed to withstand being removed often from devices like digital cameras, video consoles, and mobile phones. They also became popular as a PC storage devices and continue to be used today. The original storage capacity of standard SD cards was only 1-4 MB. But cards are now available with up to 128 GB, and there is some speculation that they will soon become available in sizes of up to 1 TB (SDXC supports up to 2 TB).
USB Flash Drive (2001-Present)
Years of Primary Use: 2000-Present
Storage Capacity: 8 MB-256 GB
Introduced by IBM and Trek Technology in 2000, the USB flash drive uses flash memory to store data. It quickly became an industry standard due to its small size and versatility. Originally able to hold 8 MB of data, current flash drives can store up to 256 GB.
Blu-ray Disc (2006-Present)
Years of Primary Use: 2006-Present
Storage Capacity: 25 GB-50 GB
Blu-ray discs were developed by the Blu-ray Disc Association and started emerging in 2006. Blue-violet lasers are used to read and write data. Currently storing 25 GB (single layer) or 50 GB (dual layer) of data, Blu-ray discs are increasing in popularity as a replacement for DVDs.